Markieff Morris traded hours after local pizza commercial was set to run

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4894/" data-ylk="slk:Markieff Morris">Markieff Morris</a> was set to appear in a commercial for a Northern Virginia pizza chain shortly after he was traded from the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/washington/" data-ylk="slk:Washington Wizards">Washington Wizards</a>. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Markieff Morris was set to appear in a commercial for a Northern Virginia pizza chain shortly after he was traded from the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

In his three years with the Washington Wizards, Markieff Morris has ingrained himself in the local community. The power forward’s Family Over Everything Foundation has held backpack giveaways and helped single-parent households in underserved communities.

With the local recognition and solid overall play, Morris finally scored a local commercial with Northern Virginia-based pizza chain Paisano’s Pizza, which was shot in late August. But in a cruel twist of fate, according to the Washington Post, Morris was dealt to the New Orleans Pelicans less than five hours after the commercial was completed.

The timing could hardly be worse for Paisano’s, which planned to run the spot twice per Wizards game for the rest of the season. Per ESB Advertising founder Eiman Bassam, the commercial will likely only run for a few weeks, although the two million-plus to-go menus with his picture will be used until they run out in about three weeks.

Morris was set to hit free agency this summer, but there wasn’t much reason for Paisano’s or anyone to expect him to be traded before then. The Wizards were projected to contend for a playoff spot, but the team has already dealt Kelly Oubre Jr., Austin Rivers, Otto Porter Jr. and now the recently injured Morris. To add insult to injury, the Morris trade wasn’t even designed to help the Wizards win; it was largely done to get them under the luxury-tax line.

“We don’t know if fans will laugh and enjoy it, or be upset,” Bassam said, via the Washington Post. “[Morris] and his wife were really excited to be in the commercial, and he was a great guy to work with, so we’re sad to see him go.”

Paisano’s has leaned heavily on Washington-area teams for its advertising. In the same shoot that Morris was in last year, the chain also used Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and nose tackle Daron Payne. They shot another commercial in 2017 with Redskins players Kerrigan, Santana Moss, Terrelle Pryor, Ken Harvey, and Brian Mitchell, plus Washington Capitals color analyst Craig Laughlin and winger Tom Wilson.

Last month, Paisano’s debuted another new commercial with Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky and winger Devante Smith-Pelly, which is planned to run throughout the season. The company will have to hold its breath for a few more weeks, though, because Burakovsky has been the subject of many trade rumors ahead of the Feb. 25 trade deadline.

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